Last Saturday our members (joined by a handful of lucky competition winners) took part in an exclusive AMA livestream with Brad Wright, co-creator of Stargate SG-1, Atlantis and Universe, and showrunner of Netflix’s Travelers. Over 90 minutes, he dropped some breaking news, offered some in-depth insight into the creative process, answered some pressing questions of Stargate lore from you guys, and took a riotous Stargate personality quiz.
In this recap from that incredible global event, we revisit just seven of the several dozen interesting reveals we uncovered, and yes, that includes the biggest update on a potential new Stargate show yet!
1. New Stargate will continue the saga
No getting away from it, the big news from our AMA was delivered right from the off as Brad Wright gave us our most concrete confirmation that a fourth Stargate is being planned and what’s more, he gave us a hint at what it might involve. The chat window went wild.
“MGM and I are working on something. It’s just too early to talk about. And, and it’s partly too early because there’s a pandemic going on and that’s kind of ground a few things to a halt. But we are working on something. It’s very exciting. It’s something that we’ve been talking about for a while now. And I love it. I’m excited to have the possibility of making it someday soon, or someday, period. And I’ll say this much: it exists in the universe that you already know. It’s not a reboot. It’s not a completely new thing. It’s a continuation. And I’ll leave it at that.”
“Good, good,” quipped Brad. “Everybody’s just going offline now, right?”
2. Like the rest of us, Brad hates spoilers
“I love fantasy too, Lord of the Rings was epic when I was 12 years old. [I] cried when Gandalf fell and my brother at dinner said, ‘Don’t worry, buddy, [he’s] is going to be okay’. And I got really mad at him for the spoiler.”
3. Brad has an answer for everything, checkmate NASA
In response to a question from our of our own writers (and biologist), Michael Simpson, about the process of crafting alien ecosystems for Stargate, Brad pointed out pragmatically:
“It is true that all the planets we go to seem to have perfectly breathable air and but maybe that’s why the ancients put Stargates there. That was our answer.”
4. Brad’s writing advice is don’t take Brad’s writing advice
Naturally, someone with Brad’s track record and a writing career which spans three decades has plenty of insights for anyone interested in the craft.
“I used to outline because you had to,” he admitted, “but honestly, for me, the outline process takes as long as the script process and it’s less informative to me as a writer. I’m not a plotter. I don’t think of the whole story ahead of time.
“I don’t really know what the scene is going to be until the one character says something and then I go ‘Oh, this person should say this […] When I’m creating a new show [and] when I’m writing a pilot, I just start writing and I don’t recommend that to anybody.”
5. That one story arc Brad’s still not done with
Here’s one for the clickbait copywriters looking for something to pad out their ‘new Stargate’ stories (we’re good to you, you carrion), Brad revealed that the plot threads he always fancied revisit involved a century-long scheme to take the human race to the very edge of extinction.
“I always wanted to do another Aschen story,” he explained. “I just thought that their plan was so insidious. [Producer] Rob Cooper used to tease me about it because he felt that the long game that the Aschen played was inherently undramatic, which is why it ended up playing well as a time travel story, because by the time we realized what their plan was, it was already too late.
“The only solution was to find a way to send a message back and, and not meet them in the first place. I obviously have a thing for time travel. I think Rob’s joke was, ‘Oh my god, they stopped us from being able to grow corn!’. But I thought I could come up with another long game type story. I just, there was something interesting about a culture that had that sense of superiority and sense of the long game, ‘We’ll win – it’ll just take 100 years’. I only got two episodes in that world, but, you know, there might have been a third right there.”
6. The real reason O’Neill didn’t really go in for speeches
The fact that Jack O’Neill was so taciturn makes perfect sense for a grizzled (and emotionally buttoned-down) combat veteran with such a tragic backstory, but what we didn’t know was the extent to which that was a creative decision from actor Richard Dean Anderson.
“Rick hated long speeches, like he had kind of a two-finger rule,” said Brad, holding up two fingers as if covering the lines on a script. “And it’s not because he didn’t memorize them. He just felt it was more real when he had shorter things to say. He was a consummate professional, but he just didn’t think, ‘Oh, O’Neill should do long speeches’.”
7. Joe Mallozzi considers Brad a mentor
The second of our two special guests (Wait, what, who was the first? Hold that thought) was Dark Matter creator Joe Mallozi, writer and producer on all three Stargate series and full-time nice guy. He popped in to ask a couple of questions of his own, but first he paid tribute to the man he described as his mentor.
“I always tell people the reason Dark Matter was such a pleasant set, and everyone was happy to be there was because we prepared. The reason we were able to prepare is because I learned it from you, and Rob [Cooper] on Stargate. If you’re efficient, it just makes life easier on everyone and the money ends up on screen.
“I remember you visiting the Dark Matter set, and I introduced you as my mentor. I remember you laughing it off, but it is true. I mean, the reason Dark Matter turned out is as great as it was and it has its fanbase is because everything I learned working under you on Stargate.”
If you missed the AMA or just want to relive it, then the experience is far from over. In the next couple of weeks we’ll be publishing the full transcript, specially edited video clips, and 14 bonus questions from you guys which Brad graciously stayed behind after the sessions to answer.
And come on, how much do you want to know what’s going on here?
James Hoare is editor of The Companion. He has been “working in publishing” since the early 1990s when he made his own Doctor Who fanzine to sell in the school playground.You can find him on Twitter @JDHoare